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The Elder Sister, reduction (La soeur aînée, réduction)

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The Elder Sister, reduction (La soeur aînée, réduction)


Published ca. 1864
Topics art, European Art


An academic painter who had achieved great success in the Paris Salon with mythological, historical, and religious subjects, Bouguereau later turned to genre scenes such as this image of a young woman caring for her younger brother. Although the figures are defined as siblings in the title, Bouguereau evokes the Madonna and Child with a tender pose—much like that seen in the altarpieces on the opposite wall—and the Catholic rosary beads in the child’s hand. Moreover, scholars have linked Bouguereau’s composition and the dark, dreamy look of the girl to the Sistine Madonna by Raphael. Bouguereau’s works appealed to a middle-class clientele—both French and American—that cherished Christian and domestic values. This “reduction” is one of at least two known versions that Bouguereau painted after a larger subject displayed in the Salon of 1867.

Object metadata can change over time, please check the Brooklyn Museum object record for the latest information.



Identifier brooklynmuseum-o4390-the-elder-sister-reduction-la-soeur
Caption William Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905). The Elder Sister, reduction (La soeur aînée, réduction), ca. 1864. Oil on panel, 21 7/8 x 17 15/16 in. (55.6 x 45.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of William H. Herriman, 21.99
Coverage Europe
Creator William Bouguereau
Credit Bequest of William H. Herriman
Date ca. 1864
Dimensions 21 7/8 x 17 15/16 in. (55.6 x 45.6 cm); Frame: 29 3/4 x 25 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (75.6 x 64.8 x 11.4 cm)
Mediatype image
Medium Oil on panel
Rights No known copyright restrictions
Signature Signed lower right on chest: "W Bouguereau"
Publicdate 2010-04-29 15:04:34
Addeddate 2010-04-29 15:04:34
Backup_location ia903605_12

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